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OBJECTIVE To evaluate the lipidomic profile of surfactant obtained from horses with asthma at various clinical stages and to compare results with findings for healthy horses exposed to the same conditions.

SAMPLE Surfactant samples obtained from 6 horses with severe asthma and 7 healthy horses.

PROCEDURES Clinical evaluation of horses and surfactant analysis were performed. Samples obtained from horses with severe asthma and healthy horses before (baseline), during, and after exposure to hay were analyzed. Crude surfactant pellets were dried prior to dissolution in a solution of isopropanol:methanol:chloroform (4:2:1) containing 7.5mM ammonium acetate. Shotgun lipidomics were performed by use of high-resolution data acquisition on an ion-trap mass spectrometer. Findings were analyzed by use of an ANOVA with a Tukey-Kramer post hoc test.

RESULTS Results of lipidomic analysis were evaluated to detect significant differences between groups of horses and among exposure statuses within groups of horses. Significantly increased amounts of cyclic phosphatidic acid (cPA) and diacylglycerol (DAG) were detected in surfactant from severely asthmatic horses during exposure to hay, compared with baseline and postexposure concentrations. Concentrations of cPA and DAG did not change significantly in healthy horses regardless of exposure status.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE cPA 16:0 and DAG 36:2 were 2 novel lipid mediators identified in surfactant obtained from asthmatic horses with clinical disease. These molecules were likely biomarkers of sustained inflammation. Further studies are needed to evaluate a possible correlation with disease severity and potential alterations in the plasma lipidomic profile of horses with asthma.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate the phospholipid composition and function of surfactant in horses with recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) at various clinical stages and compare these properties with findings in horses without RAO.

Animals—7 horses with confirmed RAO and 7 without RAO (non-RAO horses).

Procedures—Pairs of RAO-affected and non-RAO horses were evaluated before, during, and after exposure to hay. Evaluations included clinical scoring, lung function testing, airway endoscopy, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) absolute and differential cell counts. Cell-free BALF was separated into crude surfactant pellet and supernatant by ultracentrifugation, and phospholipid and protein concentrations were determined. Phospholipid composition of crude surfactant pellets and surface tension were evaluated with high-performance liquid chromatography and a pulsating bubble surfactometer, respectively. Findings were compared statistically via mixed-effects, repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results—Total phospholipid concentration in BALF was lower in RAO-affected versus non-RAO horses at all sample collection times. In the RAO-affected group, total phospholipid concentration was lower during exposure to hay than before or after exposure. There were no significant differences in BALF protein concentration, percentages of phospholipid classes, or surface tension between or within groups of horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—All clinical stages of RAO-affected horses were characterized by low surfactant concentration in BALF. Exacerbation of RAO led to an additional decrease in surfactant concentration. Causes for low surfactant concentration in RAO-affected horses remain to be determined. Low phospholipid concentration may render RAO-affected horses more susceptible than unaffected horses to surfactant alterations and contribute to clinical disease status and progression.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research